A Bedford man was in custody Tuesday, accused of tackling a woman in downtown Fort Worth and then repeatedly punching her and gouging her eyes before he tried to flee.
But good Samaritans who rushed to help the 34-year-old Fort Worth woman tackled the suspect before police arrived.
Jail records identified the suspect as David Earl Thomas, 33. He faces a charge of assault with bodily injury in the Thursday morning attack in broad daylight.
The 34-year-old woman was taken to the hospital with two black eyes, cuts and bruises.
"He never said a word the entire time," the woman said Tuesday in a telephone interview. The woman agreed to talk to the Star-Telegram on the condition that her name not be used because she was a victim of violent crime. "I thought he was some runner, and then he just tackled me."
The attack occurred shortly after 8:30 a.m. Thursday in the 200 block of West Lancaster Avenue.
The woman told the Star-Telegram she has lived downtown for two years and never had a problem.
"I had always felt safe," she said. "I know there are homeless people in the downtown area, but I've never had any problems with them."
On Thursday morning, the woman was out giving her little dog a bathroom break. Another woman was nearby with larger dogs.
"There were so many people around," the woman said. "I saw him running up, but I thought he was just a jogger or he was running for the train."
But the suspect tackled her, got on top of her and tried to gouge her eyes out. He then repeatedly punched her.
At some point, the man got off the woman and fled.
"I don't know if he saw other people coming to help me, but he started to run away," the woman said.
The woman said a man who ran out of a nearby building and a construction worker chased down the suspect.
Thomas has a criminal history in Tarrant County. Since 2002, he has been arrested for theft, deadly conduct, burglary, criminal mischief and terroristic threat, according to criminal court records.
Before Thursday, Thomas had been detained by police four times for assault, the records state.
Thomas was in the Tarrant County Jail Tuesday in lieu of $2,500 bail. No lawyer was listed for him in court records.